Track By Tracks: This Is The Last Time - Acclimation (2022)

Tim (Guitar) and Tyler (Bass) sat down to put their thoughts together about how the band approached the creative direction and intentions behind the album Acclimation and its use as a cathartic device during the initial COVID lockdowns. Acclimation will be released on November 18 and pre-orders are available:

1. Acclimation:

Acclimation is an introduction to the sonic universe of This is the Last Time. We initially drew from elements of post metal and cascading cinematic instrumental rock. Once the general song and vibe were defined, we tasked Taylor Hamel (drums) with accenting the song with technical and intentionally specific drumming. I (Tyler) then rounded out the bass lines that were intended to stand on their own, but while also bringing weight to the whole. From soaring leads provided by Notsch (Guitar), to melancholic ambient passages, winding back through caverns of tight blast beats, before rocketing back out into space. The song ebbs between blasts of energy and cathartic driving melody. Acclimation culminates with a call back to the beginning movement of the song, a book end, and climaxes one final time with searing leads over threes. Even at well over 8 minutes, Acclimation is a journey paced to keep the listener’s attention and prepare them for what’s to come.

2. Ipanema Blue:

Ipanema Blue was written as a mournful, but ultimately hopeful song. Tim set the cozy pace in the intro of the song with a simple melody, and then allowed the song to breathe and flow into a sunny, warm atmosphere. Abandoning comfort (and harkening to the new, confusing existing we were now living in), Ipanema barrels into excitement, elation, and exuberance, before falling into contemplation. Eventually the comfort completely falls away, leaving the most sparse portion of the entire experience. We intended to leave the listener wonder and wander alone, before Tyler’s bass lines would start to bring a sense of direction back to the piece. Snaking through dark sonic rivers, Taylor’s percussion begins to build exponentially, before bubbling over and into the brightest part of the album. When acceptance feels inevitable, the song reminds us that pure elation is the only thing worth seeking. A warm sort of chaos rolls in and brings finality.

3. Small Framed Deliberate Fast Simple Feelings:

Side two of Acclimation begins in a less hopeful realm than where Ipanema left us. A direct result of watching the world seemingly burn around us and confined to our homes. Small Framed Deliberate Fast Simple Feelings is bereft of any extended intro section, instead breaking directly into a barrage of blast beats and buzzing guitars. As this section boils to a head and over, Small Framed falls back to several simultaneous guitar parts. Meandering through and around each other, the bass and drums root this dreamy section in reality. The song begins to soar at this point, taking flight before again giving way to some less than comfortable longing, accented by double bass and wandering drum fills. The song finally breaks completely down and starts to reveal something else completely. Through confusion we build through to some hopeful orchestration leading us up a mountain, only to drop us off a ledge, and confused yet again. As this final act of the song lurches and lunges forward, guitars, bass, and drums all come together and fall apart several times in a melee of heavy churning.

Eventually, the song leads out of the well and into the arms of hope and cautious optimism, where it finally rests.

4.Turing Test Results:

Turing Test Results were written to set a specific feeling from start to finish, one of crushing pressure. While the string section intentionally drones on one slow relentless riff, the drum section pummels us forward. Deliberate and striking at first, the percussion marches out to sea. Waves begin to build and Turing starts to show its true intent. Whirling, sawing guitars shave off angles of the hopeful attitude to create something pained, but ever pressing forward. Eventually falling below the surface completely, the album’s somber epilogue does not provide any emotional safe haven but asks to continue on anyway.

The entirety of Acclimation was written as pure catharsis and a direct result of the initial COVID lockdowns. Self-reflection and a need to build community through a common goal and across geographical restraints. Acclimation embraces solitude and community simultaneously while providing a sense of hopeful optimism through chaos, repetition, and ultimately: comfort.

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